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General News of Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

PDS debacle: What we know so far


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The country has been thrown into a state of uncertainty following reports of termination of the controversial deal between the state and Power Distribution Service (PDS).

Members of the opposition party, NDC, led by the General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, held a press conference on Monday to condemn government for the manner in which the concession agreement was handled.

“Ghanaians can never and should never trust the very same Ken Ofori Atta, Keli Gadzekpo, Esson Benjamin, Dr. Bawumia and President Akufo-Addo who caused this PDS mess to do any thorough job. There is too much corruption in their DNA.” He stated

www.ghanaweb.com compiles the information on the details of the PDS concession deal we know so far.

Government on Friday, October, 18 released a statement highlighting intentions for the termination of the much talked about concession agreement.

In the statement signed by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta, he explained that the Government’s decision to terminate the PDS Concession and find a replacement in a timely manner to successfully conclude the Compact was based on two key points.

According to the document addressed to the CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Sean Cairncross, a key reason behind the termination of the concession was the result of a meeting between Akufo-Addo and the former.

After the meeting, an agreement was reached that the existing concession would be discontinued and a restoration and restructuring plan executed before December 31, 2019.
Secondly, it noted, the cancellation of the concession does not in any way diminish the Government of Ghana’s commitment to private sector participation in Ghana’s energy sector.



In a detailed background to why government arrived at their decision, they indicated among other things that:

“Indeed, Government intends to see this PSP through in a manner that respects due process and fidelity to the relevant transaction documents and underlying Compact,” it noted.

The termination decision follows a meeting between the Secretary to President Akufo-Addo, Nana Bediatuo Asante, and Ofori-Atta on one hand, and the Principal Deputy Vice President of MCC, Kyeh Kim, and the Resident Country Director-Ghana of the MCC, Kenneth Miller, on the other hand, held in Washington DC on Friday, October 18, 2019.

Days after reports of the termination of the contract, however, officials of Millennium Challenge Cooperation(MCC) have in a letter addressed to the Finance Minister, tasked government to restore the PDS-ECG agreement and then restructure same by “facilitating the restructuring of the equity interest of PDS”

According to a report by 3news.com, the MCC has asked Ghana to “maintain the framework and the terms and conditions of the existing transaction agreement unless otherwise agreed to by all parties”.

They are also requesting government to maintain Meralco “in its current roles of financial lead shareholder, operation lead shareholder and developing country lead shareholder”.

Additionally, government per the letter from the MCC is also to facilitate equity participation of potential Ghanaian institutional investors in the transaction in a fair and transparent manner “while handling the rights of the existing shareholders”.

The letter further cited Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund, the Ghanaian Pension Fund, and SSNIT as some of the Ghanaian institutional investors the government could look at.

In a related development, however, Chairman of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee, PIAC Dr. Steve Manteaw has said that recent developments within the government over the termination of the PDS deal shows government may have cooked up claims of fraud.



According to Dr. Manteaw, the allegations of fraud were established in order to form the basis to terminate the concession deal to allow some individuals in government benefit from the concession.

Speaking to Citi FM after government served notice to terminate the PDS concession deal, Dr Steve said, "If I juxtaposed the recent development with the letter written by the Minister of Finance to a private legal practitioner from Akufo-Addo Chambers, Mr Akoto Ampaw to restructure the shareholding of the Ghanaian partners then it raises eyebrow because if indeed these Ghanaian partners were acting on their own accord to buy into this concession then a government Minister has no basis to write to a private legal practitioner from the President's former chamber to restructure the shareholding of Ghanaian partners in this concession.

You could tell, and from further developments and documents I saw suggested that Professor Ayensu was resisting this attempt, he was not happy and resisted and so I suspect that this actually gave rise to government's decision to terminate concession but they needed to have a basis to terminate the concession and they have all these information because they have allowed these things to happen the so-called fraud or irregularities to happen so that at least some individuals in government could benefit from the........ I'm pretty sure things did not work out and so all these allegations of irregularities may have been cooked up to form the basis to terminate..."

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